2020-04-26
linen sheets Orphan Block Mini Quilt decorative pillow shams

I ended up with?a handful of orphan blocks when I purchased a big bag of vintage scrap fabrics a few years ago, all?different block patterns and ranging in size from about 4-8″;.

I had no idea what to do with them?at the time, and they ended up in my “;to-do-something-with”; pile. This summer I finished one as mini-quilt, and use?it regularly for tea and snack breaks at my desk. I finished a few others as mini-quilts too, and we’;ve found lots of uses for them (check out where they end up in our house below!). If you have any single orphan blocks floating around your “;to-sew”; pile, this is a simple and quick way to finish them off.

decorative pillow covers

Let’;s get started!

Grab your orphan block, and find a fair amount of scraps to add to the block. The more you add, the larger your finished mini-quilt will be.

Play around with the scraps until you have a good idea of how to finish off the orphan block. Adding to the block and finishing it off with a border?will make the block look framed?and finished. I love to add an extra bit of fabric to one side of the block to change the shape from a square to a rectangle.

Use your favorite patchwork foot to sew the scraps to the block (Patchwork foot #37/#37Dlinen sheets, the Patchwork foot with guide #57/#57D, or the Patchwork foot #97/#97D).

Once you have finished sewing a bit of extra to give the block a finished look, and you are happy with the results (when you can say “;Yes, I love it!”;), you are ready for quilting.

Create your mini-quilt sandwich on a clean, smooth surface. Start with the backing fabric right side down, smoothing?out all the wrinkles. Add the batting scrap next, and top it off with your mini-quilt top, smoothing out any bumps or wrinkles from the center to the edges. You can baste the layers together with long straight pins, with quilter’;s safety pins (like this tutorial from Faith Jones), or use temporary spray adhesive (just like LUKE Haynes in this tutorial) when layering the quilt sandwich.

My orphan block was hand-stitched with vintage fabrics, and is a bit fragile. So, I am quilting with tight, straight line quilting stitches spaced 1/8″; apart to help stabilize the older fabrics and make this a sturdy mini-quilt for the multiple ways it will be used. This type of tight, straight line quilting is called matchstick quilting, because it is about the width of a matchstick. You can choose to quilt your own mini-quilt as desired!

To create matchstick quilting, I set up the sewing machine with a straight stitch plate, and use the Patchwork foot #97D with Dual Feed engaged. If you do not have a machine with the Dual Feed feature, use the Walking foot #50.

To create the 1/8″; spaced matchstick quilting, I start by stitching a straight line down the middle of the mini-quilt. Then, I use special markings on the Patchwork foot #97D to create the matchstick quilting.

To the left of the needle, there is a small mark on the foot. Lining this mark up with stitching to the left of the needle creates a perfectly spaced 1/8″; line.

To the right of the needle I line up the stitching with the inside edge of the right toe, which also creates an exact 1/8″; spaced stitch line. As I quilt, I flip the mini-quilt around so that I am stitching in alternate directions for each line of stitching, continuing until I reach the outer edges of the quilt.

If you are quilting matchstick style with the Walking foot #50, follow the inside edges of the toes with the standard sole (pictured here), or the open-toed quilting sole?to create perfect 1/8″; spaced lines.

Once quilting is finished, trim off the extra fabric and batting, making sure that your mini-quilt is squared-up.

Finish the edges using your favorite binding method. I use the Double-Fold Binding tutorial?found here at WeAllSew, cutting my binding strips on the straight-grain at 2″; wide. I sew to the front of the quilt at about 1/4″; also using the Patchwork foot #97D with Dual Feed engaged. To finish binding, I hand-stitch to the back of the quilt, just like I finish my big sized quilts.

Here’;s where some of my mini-quilts have ended up in the house.

These mini-quilts work great as a little place for a tea break (and the extra space is perfect to hold a snack!).

If you have any little ones around, be prepared to share your mini-quilts! This one has become a favorite blankie to a baby bunny.

And sometimes a mini-quilt?can be found inspiring a little someone to pretend to be making quilts of her very own!

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